Monday, November 10, 2008

Things That Annoy Me About Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles

[Spoilers for Episode 2.8, Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today, airdate Nov 10, 2008]

I've been trying to like Sarah Connor Chronicles. Really, I have. And I do like certain things about it. But a few things about the plot are really starting to get to me:

* Too much time travel. Yes, of course it's a time travel show. But there are so many resistance fighters/Terminators traveling back to the past, there must be airport-style TSA check-in queues at the time machines. (Though, to be fair, time travelers go naked, which we don't have to do. Yet.)

Instead of being an insurmountable barrier, time travel is now a minor inconvenience. It turns "I came across time for you, Sarah," into "I went a couple blocks out of my way for you, Sarah."

* Too many Terminators. Just like the Borg in the Star Trek series, Terminators are best used sparingly. (Understandably, this is especially a problem for the Terminator universe -- in Star Trek, there were plenty of other villains to use. Which is why it was extra grating when they kept bringing out the Borg whenever they needed a ratings kick.)

If you go to the well too many times, you water down the... water. Because you have to keep figuring out ways to escape, or beat, what is supposed to be an inexorable, unstoppable foe. Which means that an unbeatable foe not only becomes beatable, but routinely beatable. Which means that...

* It's too damn easy for the good guys to kill Terminators. In tonight's allegedly-climactic, far too John Woo-ish church shoot out, Cromartie, who we've previously seen take out 20 heavily-armed FBI HRT guys without breaking a sweat (in what was, admittedly, a very cool scene), gets taken out by Sarah Connor, David Silver, their two submachine guns, and River Tam's three, count 'em, three, shotgun blasts.

(Though to be fair, Cromartie did have to expend considerable effort maintaining his Jesus Christ pose.)

Earlier, we've seen Terminators locked in a bunker, steamed to death (or was it electrocuted?) in a nuclear power plant, taken out by a .50 caliber sniper rifle (presumably, why California, pandering to the Terminator lobby, banned them), stiletto-heeled and pretzeled by River Tam, and given the Chromartie Kali ma! One-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.

Pretty soon, they'll just go *bing* and fizzle out when the warranty expires.

* Regular Terminators should not be sent back to impersonate specific people. If Skynet can cook up T-800s (or T-888s, whatever) to send back to specifically impersonate specific people at specific points in time (the nuclear plant guy and Agent Ellis), it really knows too much. Impersonation is supposed to be done by the shapeshifter models, like Shirley Manson and Bloodrayne.

* Enough with the future factions. Man, everyone is stealing from The 4400 these days. First it was Heroes with that ripped-from-promycin "Everybody gets a power" storyline; now it's Sarah Connor Chronicles with the dueling future factions sending machines back. Pretty soon, it'll be Temporal Cold Wars and Evil Leapers and the future High Fructose Corn Syrup faction sending back Terminators.

Lastly, a few secondary annoyances:

* Until tonight, I thought that Cromartie was played by that guy from Sports Night. (He's not.)

* Terminators are too gun dependent. Way back in the original Terminator, T-1-0-Ahnuld could have just punched Linda Sarah Hamilton Connor's heart out in the Tech Noir club, but nooooo, he had to stop to reload his Uzi. Same with the Sarah Connor Chronicles pilot -- Chromartie could have just been Inappropriately Close in the Classroom Teaching Terminator and then just whipped out the Super Soldier Billy Miles-patented Denogginizing *JUDO CHOP*, instead of having to pull out the inconveniently-holstered quadracep Glock.

* The Fox Terminator Wiki (a WetPaint wiki & discussion board) is overloaded with crap widgets. It's really annoying and takes forever to load.


Anonymous said...

Well, I keep watching this show despite all these annoyances.

You know, the very premise of the entire franchise is flawed. When T-1-0-Ahnuld came back to kill John Connor, he would have succeeded if not for Kyle Reese. But Kyle Reese was sent back from the future by John Connor after the T-1-0-Ahnuld went back. (or have I forgotten my the plot line? It has been a while)

So, John Connor would not have survived in the past in order to be alive in the future to send back Kyle Reese to protect his younger self.

Anonymous said...

Oops, T-1-0-Ahnuld came back to kill Sarah Conner... so lets not even get into the whole concept of John Connor could never have been born... at least not the same John Connor with the same DNA...

Joelogon said...

I don't mind the usual paradoxes that come up with time travel (predestination paradox foremost), as long as they're applied consistently -- it's the gimmicky feel of "the time traveler of the week"